God is Not Linear

Bismillahi Rahmani Rahim 


Salaam Alaikum wa Rahmatullah


I am a revert to Islam.  Over the years, people have asked me hundreds of times why I converted to Islam.  Did I covert to please a husband?  No.  Did I convert after hearing a particularly moving sermon?  No.  I converted out of conviction after studying Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.

Perhaps it’s the German in me, but I appreciate the logical consistency of Islam.  Since the creation of the first man, Adam, peace be upon him, Islam has always taught the same simple unequivocal message of tauheed, belief in the Oneness of God. It’s a simple message, but profound.

But Christians believe in one God also, don’t they?  Christianity and Judaism are considered to be monotheistic religions, right?  Well, they may be called that, but Christians fell into idol worship when they decided to treat Jesus, peace be upon him, as a deity rather than what he was, a prophet of God.

Here’s what I think when I consider the mental gymnastics required for a Christian to believe, at the same time, that God is One and  that God is Three – the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.  I would have less trouble understanding that people believe this if they had believed it from the very beginning.  If God had created Adam and Eve and had said “I AM THREE” in a booming metaphysical voice, if He had revealed that to Noah and Abraham and Lot and Moses and the rest, then I would say, okay, I don’t believe that, but at least it’s consistent.

When God created mankind, He communicated clearly the teaching that He was the only God.  No one else shared the Godhood with Him.  He was “a jealous God”.  “Thou shalt have no other God before Me” is one of the Ten Commandments.  The declaration of faith of the Jews, the Schma, declares “Hear O Israel, the Lord Thy God, the Lord is One”.  It is a simple lesson reinforced throughout the entire Torah and other books of what became the Jewish Tanakh and the Christian Old Testament.  No person who reads it can make any mistake; God is One.

Ages of mankind have taught this message, tauheed, until someone came and spoke a different message.  Did Jesus, peace be upon him, bring a new math to mankind?  No.  Indeed, he never wavered from reinforcing the message of tauheed.  There are too many verses to quote here, but I defy anyone to find one where Jesus said he was God.  Nor did anyone who witnessed his prophethood call him a god – they referred to him as a prophet or a Rabbi, but at no time did the Jews of Palestine try to elevate him to the position of deity.  This process was started later by Paul (formerly Saul) of Tarsus, a Roman Jew steeped in the mythology of his pagan surroundings.  The concept of Trinity was introduced and became entrenched among some over time, though not until the Council of Nicea almost four hundred years later did belief in Jesus’ divinity become a tenet of the faith.

The details of all this are online and in dusty libraries for those who wish to search.  Having considered this information, here’s what strikes me.  Bear with me because this is kind of stream-of-consciousness so I may ramble a bit.

Okay, God is God, right?  As such, He created and sustains the universe.  One of His creations is time.  Time?  Yes, time.  Time is a created thing.  Hard to grasp, but true.  Some wag once said time is the universe’s way of making sure everything doesn’t happen at once.  Funny, but there’s an element of truth in that only for us humans.  God, on the other hand, being the Creator of time and Master of it, is not bound by time.  What does that mean?  That means that it is meaningless to use the terms past, present, and future when you are talking of things happening from God’s point of view.  For God, the beginning of creation is as immediate as today, and as immediate as Judgment Day.  He is separate from His creation and is not bound by the rules he put in motion to control our universe and whatever lies beyond it.  Yes I know it’s kind of a brain twister, but if God were a slave of time, then He wouldn’t be God, would He?

Now that we have determined this,  it makes it completely impossible to understand why He would allow an inconsistent message to be taught by His prophets over time.  From God’s point of view, if I may be so bold as to put myself in His realm, Adam and Moses and Abraham and Jesus and Muhammad are all contemporaneous.  We see this on a practical level in Islam when God sent Muhammad to the heavens on the night of the Israa and Miraaj.  He took Muhammad to a place out of time as we normally understand it, where he met the prophets of previous ages.  Think of them, all at the same “place and time” in the heavens.  Especially consider Moses, Jesus, and Muhammad, for instance.  Moses was taught “God is One”, Muhammad was taught “God is One”.  So does Jesus stand there in the presence of his fellow prophets and say, “Uh, yeah, about that.  There’s been a bit of a mixup, you see.  God USED to be one, but then I came along and now He’s three.  Why not two?  Well, uh, there’s this other entity, the Holy Ghost.  I don’t know much about him, but apparently he’s God, too.”  Now, I don’t mean to put words in the mouths of prophets of God and mean no disrespect, but can you see the logical fallacy of this situation?  Even if you don’t believe in the Israa and Miraaj, if you believe in the Day of Judgment you do comprehend a time when every human who has ever lived will be brought back to life and will stand together.

Imagine Judgment Day.  Some poor shmoe who was born in, say 1200 CE is standing there, and he is finding out that he’s going to hell because he did not believe Jesus Christ was God.  “But, but, that guy”, he stammers, pointing at Abraham, or Moses, or Adam, or Noah, “that guy  believes there is only One God.”  “Ah, but he was born before  Jesus’ time” he is informed, and thus falls under the Old Testament guidelines. So this poor man is doomed to the hellfire for believing the exact same thing  as all the prophets of old, only for believing it at the wrong time.  How much sense does this make?

So you see, time undoes this argument for believing Jesus is God.  It’s not the only evidence, to be sure.  There actually is no evidence that I see to believe Jesus is God, but this particular paradox strikes me, perhaps because I’ve watched a lot of programs on the Discovery Channel, or because I like to read books on quantum physics (yes, I’m a nerd), or just because it offends my logical  German sensibilities.  A truth must be a truth, yesterday, today, and tomorrow, else we cannot rely on it.  The consistent truth of the matter is that God is One.  That is the message revealed by God from Adam to Muhammad, peace and blessings be on all the prophets and messengers of God.  If you don’t believe it, go back and study.  Study with an open skeptical mind without preconceived ideas and memories of what some preacher told  you was in the Bible.  Read all the Bibles out there and marvel at what verses are being expunged nowadays by Christian scholars as being interpolations.  Then go read the Qur’an, and talk to Muslims about what you read, because it requires context.  But don’t just sit there in your pews and mindlessly mouth “God is Three” without understanding and think to yourself that his is just a mystery of your faith.  The fundamentals of your faith shouldn’t be a mystery; they should be clear.  As clear as 1 = 1.

Fi Aman Allah,

Nancy

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10942311548054548951 Trish

    Though, as you know, I'm not a Muslim, or of any other faith, I have to just say you're a brilliant writer, Nancy. Very compelling piece and so well thought-out. It does strike me how testaments (at least the Christian testament) has had changes over the centuries, as if the first just wasn't quite right, though purported to be the very words from God. I just don't get why people don't see this, or refuse to acknowledge that "something ain't right here." As always, your writing is amazing.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/12077982247254680743 Glenda Faye

    Excellent!

  • Nancy Shehata

    Salma, you are more than welcome to share this post and any others you find interesting. Thank you everyone for your comments.

  • Salma Raheem

    :) Mashallah and Jazakallah khair! It was a pleasure to read your logical flow of thoughts- esp God in relation to time and lol, was hilarious to imagine Isa (peace be upon him) having the fictional conversation with the other prophets (peace be upon all of them). Could I share the content of this with my family and friends?

  • Nancy Shehata

    Ameen, Mrs. Qadeer. I am still the only Muslim in my family and they are a very diverse group, and I ask that Allah guide your family and mine and everyone, Ameen.

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10161260272652221893 Mrs. Qadeer

    Assalaamu alaikum Nancy. Once again, you hit the nail on the head. If only I could teach this message to my family. May Allah ta ala guide them and all of us ameen.

  • http://www.islamicanswers.com/ Wael – IslamicAnswers.com

    I've had many of the same thoughts, but you've put them together in an orderly and quite brilliant way. I'd love to reprint this piece on one of my websites, http://www.IslamicSunrays.com, if you don't mind.Allah actually says in a hadith qudsi, "The son of man inveighs against the time, but I am the time, in My hand is the night and the day."This concept of Allah being outside of time, or of time being a tool that He created, is one I've contemplated before. It explains many otherwise confusing elements of Islamic cosmology having to do with the creation of the universe, the length of the Day of Judgment, the time in the grave, the afterlife, the Israa' and Me'raj, etc.

  • Nuur

    Salaam, MashaAllah sister. When I decided to practice Islam I too was asked whether there was a man involved LOL

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/07192169293126504624 Suburban Barbie

    :-) (clapping hands in glee!)mashallah…brilliant….and this is coming from a person who despite being brought up in a muslim family, approached islam as an adult with the same open sceptical mind, that led me to CHOOSE islam as the most logical thing to be. -huwaida


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